Category : Sahara Trek – 2014

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The sand storm – a blog by Debbie Nash

Another day in front of us and we were warned that it was the longest and probably the most difficult.

We left camp at the usual time of 8am. Fantastic how every trekker is ready and eager for the off despite sore and blistered feet together with aching limbs.

We walked four hours across the salt flats where temperatures soared to mid thirties.

We arrived at our lunch tent at around midday. It was such a relief to be able to take shade and relax properly for a couple of hours. Lunch was amazing rice salads and sweet mint tea was plentiful.

After lunch it was sand dunes. The landscape was spectacular and exactly how you imagine the Sahara. The climbing of each dune was challenging and balancing as you walk across the tops not ideal for those of us with vertigo, but the running down was really fun and we escaped with minor injuries. We were then faced with a sand storm that came from nowhere. The sands whipped us and visibility became an issue.

We eventually got to camp. Thank goodness! We were all feeling weary after a long day trekking and battling against the storm.

That evening the winds died down to allow us to have dinner, but later that night returned battering our tents for several hours. The inside of the tents and personal items were covered with layer upon layer of sand. Lovely!

Day 5 here we come.

Getting to know you – a blog by Robert Davies

The camp stirs around dawn with the rustling of rucksacks as everyone prepares themselves for the walk ahead. Some of our colleagues slept outside the tent overnight and were treated to a display of shooting stars.

After a filling breakfast of bread and freshly prepared pancakes the group heads out through the back of our tented encampment and a slow haul up through the mountains. Whilst the gradient isn’t too steep we all need to take care with our footing as the path is very narrow and strewn with rocks and boulders. Fortunately a decent breeze  picks up and gives us some respite from the searing heat of the day.

Given the terrain, the back up team are unable to set up a tent for lunch so we shelter from the sun in a dry river bed where there are a few trees under which groups of us huddle. Our second pack lunch in three days and boiled eggs, tinned sardines and dry bread are wearing a little thin already – although the evening meals in camp are  excellent.

During the afternoon we trudge mile after mile over a dried out lake bed which stretches out almost as far as the eye can see in every direction. The group fans out to reflect the different walking paces and we take about three hours or so to reach our camp for the night.

We also have a temporary reprieve from camp showers (i.e. a jug of water) and toilets which constitute a hole in the ground. The camp is just by a small guesthouse where we are able to use the shower blocks and bathrooms and most of the group sit together in comfortable sofas in the palm lined gardens.

It gives us all more opportunity to mix with other members of the team. From a personal perspective this has been a great part of the experience. Working in Bulgaria, I haven’t met most of the William Hill colleagues on the trek before so its been interesting to learn about them and their roles in the organisation. It surprising how some of the challenges I have overlap with some of the issues my colleagues face in different parts of the business.

What is more, we have set aside the normal competitive rivalry and all integrated well with the team members from other operators. We have a broad range represented with people from bricks and mortar businesses as well as on-line operators and developers. The happiest amongst us though is our those representing bingo operators given their numbers came up last week with the tax concession in the budget! Mark, our host from the Responsible Gaming Trust has also been taking time to catch up with each of us and I have had an interesting insight into some of the issues he deals with.

In the evening some of us hike  to watch the spectacular sunset over the adjacent plain which is framed by a craggy mountain range on the horizon. Given the amount of walking during the day most of us are in bed straight after dinner and a quick warm up by the camp fire. Tomorrow is the longest day of all so we rest our weary legs.

Two days in the desert – a blog by Craig Connolly

Day 2

After a much needed rest and lunch under shelter the team set off to complete the remaining 8km across the arid salt flats of the Sahara desert. Today was the first real test of our walking skills and everyone was up for the challenge! Already the eager beavers at the front of the pack are being held back by our tour guide – Mohammed, who insists we must ‘take it easy’ and uses some mischievous antics to slow us down! We finally reach base camp for our daily peppermint tea and dinner. Early night tonight ahead of our uphill climb and trek across some very rocky terrain.

Day 3

Everyone up and early ready for our 28km trek which started relatively steady. The highlight of the morning was when our Australian contingent (Caroline) managed to snag her head scarf on the only tree in the middle of the desert! It provided some entertainment on what was to be the toughest part of the challenge so far. We finally reached our lunch base which was to be huddled under a collection of trees with some very rocky stones to sit on! Very comfortable indeed :/

Thanks,

Craig

17km down, 83 to go – A Blog by Brian Whyte

Steady walk into our first camp yesterday afternoon, arrived around 5pm to be greeted with Moroccan mint tea and biscuits.

Camp is five tents with five sleeping mats in each, separated by about an inch. If we didn’t know our friends / colleagues before the trek – we will know them very well indeed over the next few nights.

Sunset over the dunes was pretty spectacular, the washing facilities were two plastic bowls and a jug, the toilet facilities were…… (some things are better left in the desert and this is one of those situations, quite literally).

Dinner was excellent, our trek support team produced vegetable soup, chicken, chips and fruit.

All 22 of the group eating round a camp fire, the sky sparkling like diamonds on black velvet (ooops, seem to have gone all poetic there, that’s a combination of too much heat, not enough water and blisters arriving on both feet).

The WH world is truly represented here, UK, Gibraltar, Bulgaria and Australia – everyone getting on and everyone denying that they were the snorer that broke the Sahara silence for pretty much the whole night.

Up at 6am this morning, breakfast of bread (think discus and you will get the picture), some brilliant pancake type things and a bowl of coffee.

Eight kilometre walk through the sand dunes, they are spectacular, they are steep, they are everything you would imagine the Sahara to be like, and it’s very, very hot.

Team Sahara are all in fine fettle, the blisters are still small, the legs not too sore as we arrive at a tent in the middle of a barren landscape for lunch.

So far, so good 17km gone – just the 83km to go. It’s going to get tougher.

On our way to the Sahara – a blog by Haydn Bratt

Its 2pm on Sunday 23rd March and after a very long day of travelling and remarkably good nights sleep the William Hill Sahara Trek team are currently sitting in the beautiful sunshine enjoying a nice spot of lunch. Did someone say this is going to be a challenge?

We are still making our way to the start of the actual trek – and have not quite reached the Sahara yet. We have been in a convoy of 4×4′s for about 3 hours – and have another 3 hours to go! You are probably thinking I thought you this was supposed to be a trek? Well the walking starts later today – with a steady 9K just to ease us into it.
 
We are yet to see how luxurious our camp site will be – we are prepared for the worse! The team however (Lyndsay, Kate, Amy, Caroline, Debbie, Brian, Craig, Rob, and me) are all in really good spirits and are can’t wait to get going. Can’t wait to get our first glimpse of the Sahara – sure it will be a memory that will last!